New Genetic Nondiscrimination Law

Late last year, a new federal employment statute governing workplace behavior took effect throughout the United States. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), signed into law by President Bush in 2008, took effect on November 21, 2009. Title II of GINA prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees or applicants because of genetic information. (Another portion of GINA, Title I, addresses the use of genetic information in the context of health insurance.) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), which is responsible for enforcing Title II of GINA, issued proposed regulations in March 2009, but the final regulations have not yet been released. Nevertheless, the Act and the proposed regulations make it clear that GINA will have a far-reaching effect on employers.

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